Archive for Research

New Registered Apprenticeships in Southwest Missouri

Southwest Missouri recently saw the addition of two newly developed apprenticeship programs registered with the US Department of Labor – MSW, Inc in Webb City and Cooper Gear & Manufacturing in Anderson.

Registered apprenticeship programs are a proven training model businesses can employ to help develop stable and predictable pipelines of skilled workers, and reduce turnover and increase productivity.  Employers can partner with local community colleges, tech schools, and other state and federal workforce system partners to develop customized training programs specific to their needs.

The Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri offers related, short-term pre-apprenticeship training options specific to a variety of industries.  This training includes drug screens, WorkKeys NCRC credentialing, soft skills training, resume preparation, mock interviews, computer skills, and financial counseling in addition to industry specific curriculum.  Pre-apprenticeship training helps students and jobseekers get a jump-start on their training and careers, and helps employers screen and recruit qualified candidates.

Business interested in learning more can contact Frank Neely at .

Public Notice for Plan Modification

The Workforce Investment Board of the Southwest Region, Inc. (DBA Workforce Innovation Board), the oversight body for the delivery of employment and training services to the Missouri Counties of Barry, Barton, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, and Newton, is submitting a modification for the region’s official Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) Plan.

The plan and proposed modifications will be available during normal business hours to anyone for inspection at the offices of the Workforce Innovation Board, 420 Grand Avenue, Joplin, Missouri, 64801. Additionally, the plan will be available for review on the WIB’s internet website at

Interested parties may comment or may petition for disapproval by sending written notice to:

Sherri Rhuems
Workforce Innovation Board
P.O. Box 1706
Joplin, MO 64802-1706


Planning and Research Section
Division of Workforce Development
P.O. Box 1087
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1087

Request may be based on the failure of the plan to address the needs of the area, a significant client interest, or the violation of statutory requirements.  Missouri Relay:   1-800-735-2966 (TDD) 1-800-735-2466 (Voice)

WorkforceZone Winter 2017: Workforce Strategies On-Track Amidst Change

The Winter 2017 edition of the WorkforceZone, the region’s quarterly journal for workforce development, features the theme of Workforce Strategies On-Track Amidst Change. The 14-page magazine-style format may be downloaded as a printer-friendly and tablet-friendly PDF. Check out individual articles online here at as well.

Navigator portal connects aid to those in need

Southwest Missouri has dozens of organizations ready to assist those in need.  However, finding up-to-date contacts and information on resources can sometimes be like finding the needle in a haystack.  The new Resource and Referral Navigator tool is coming soon to the new  The portal seeks to remove much of the hassle of connecting local solutions and services to customers through an easy-to-use online system.

Benefits of the Portal

  • No registrations or passwords to track 
  • Search by location, category, or keywords
  • Mobile-friendly and tablet-friendly
  • No cost to agency or customer
  • Results geared to local providers without getting lost statewide or out-of-region
  • Integrated with career and training tools

How You Can Help

  • Provide information to help build the online directory profile
  • Walk through the directory with your customers and encourage future usage
  • Share the new directory with partners and other stakeholders
  • Use the contact form (optional) to help facilitate tracking and follow up
  • Update referral forms with key fields to help fellow providers track and follow up:
    The Missouri Job Center system recommends core fields for effective hub referrals 
    Source:  DWD Issuance 24-2015,

Organizations interested in listing services may contact Frank Neely,, or 417-206-1717, Extension 108.

Categories of Aid Available; Navigation

Work:  Help Find Work, Career Planning, Skills and Training, Supported Employment, Volunteering, Help Pay for Work Expenses, Equal Opportunity

Money:  Financial Assistance, Government Benefits, Financial Education, Tax Preparation

Community:  Peer Support, Volunteering, Faith-Based Groups, Arts and Culture, Animals

Care:  Adoption and Foster Care, Daytime Care, End of Life Care, Navigating the System, Residential Care, Support Network

Food and Household Goods:  Community Gardens, Emergency Food, Food Pantry, Free Meals, Help Pay for Food, Nutrition, Baby Supplies, Clothing, Home Goods, Medical Supplies, School Supplies

Housing:  Emergency Shelter, Help Find Housing, Help Pay for Housing, Housing Repair, Weatherization, Miscellaneous

Emergency:  Disaster Response, Emergency Payments, Emergency Food, Emergency Shelter, Help Find Missing Persons, Immediate Safety, Psychiatric Emergency Services, Emergency Cash

Education:  GED/AEL/HiSet, English Language, Basic Computer Skills, Help Find Schooling, Help Pay for School, Preschool, Screening and Exams, Skills and Training, More Education Resources, Translation & Interpretation, Citizenship Skills, Credentialing, Transfers and Articulation

Transportation:  Transit Services, Help Pay for Transit, Vehicle Repair Assistance

Health:  Addiction and Recovery, Dental, Vision, Family Physician, Specialists, Navigating the Healthcare Exchange

Legal:  Ex-Offender Transition, Advocacy and Legal Aid, Mediation, Notary, Representation, Immigration

Population Served:  Layoffs, Young Adults (16-24), Veterans, Persons with Disabilities, Older/Retirement-Age Workers, Welfare, Ex-Offenders/Parole

Directory Fields:  Description, Details, Contacts, Location Details, Site Hours, Cost, How to Enroll, Languages Available, Additional Requirements (Eligibility), Category


Public policy perspectives needed for a jobless era

Assumptions around modern-day employment are increasingly anachronistic in the face of rapidly evolving technologies that are upending traditional job categories and occupations. In order to establish a more viable and adaptive model of employment in the near- and long-term future, which helps workers achieve personal fulfillment while also contributing productively to society, it is necessary for policymakers and leaders to reimagine how the working world will look and function. In a world characterized by rapid change that suggests new applications for our labor, how will we go about preparing for the future?

A thorough analysis of the current state and future of work cannot be fairly entertained without first establishing a basic understanding of what it is we currently know about jobs, how we measure and account for structural changes in employment, and the recognized limitations of how these definitions and measures are used to guide the decision-making of policy-makers.

Most often, policy analysts rely on data points such as the unemployment rate, labor market participation rate, employment-to-population ratio, and monthly job creation reports to inform their view of the current state of employment in the United States and to guide their policy-making choices. It is their fixation on these outcome metrics that discourages policy-makers from grappling with the fundamental shifts that are occurring as part of the evolution of jobs and work. Furthermore, by ignoring the changing circumstances of work, leaders overlook alternative strategies that may have greater public benefit, but might negatively affect these traditional measures of our overall economic health.

The paper includes in-depth analysis on the scarcity of good jobs; Reduction of the Psychological, Social, and Economic Benefits of Work; the Problem of Today; Trends for Tomorrow; Proactive Policy Making and Public Leadership.  Policy considerations for the future include:  New Metrics for Understanding Jobs and Work; Alternative Sources for Family Income; Tax Structures and Social Benefit Delivery; Rethinking the Purpose of Education and Job Training; and More Jobs May Not Be the Answer

Check out the full white paper in the Social Innovations Journal from Josh Copus in collaboration with the National Association of Workforce Boards.  The full paper is online.

Missouri improves in Rankings that Matter

The annual State of the States report from Site Selection magazine includes the third edition of  Rankings that Matter. Along with legislative, demographic, economic and education data points, the publisher also ranks all 50 states on elements relevant to corporate location decision-makers. Two of the six rankings cover workforce quality: Rank in total ACT National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRC) earned per capita among working-age adults (as of December 2016) and College Attainment with the percent of working-age population ages 18-65 holding a two-year degree or higher (using Summer 2016 data from the Lumina Foundation). With the NCRC, Joplin remains the best performing metro in Missouri.

With a 20% improvement in Missourians with the NCRC now surpassing 80 thousand, Missouri ranks 20th nationally on the NCRCs per capita. Neighboring Kansas and Arkansas have similar NCRC rankings at 23rd and 24th, respectively. Oklahoma, a long-time champion of NCRC, ranks 7th in this measure.

NCRCs Per Thousand

For local comparison, the WIB generated NCRC Per Thousand rankings of Missouri’s six metro areas and the totals overall for Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Joplin’s ranking of 49 NCRCs Per Thousand is four times the U.S. index overall, three times the index for the Show-Me State, and six times better than Missouri’s largest metros of St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City.

The WIB computed this index of each area’s population and the NCRCs recorded by ACT’s Work Ready Communities initiative (as of December 31, 2016). Metro populations are based on 2015 estimates while state populations are 2016 estimates.  Joplin’s MSA includes Ottawa County in Oklahoma together with the Missouri counties of Jasper and Newton. The St. Louis MSA includes additional Illinois counties and the Kansas City MSA includes additional Kansas counties.

Other Rankings That Matter

Other rankings in the report include Rank in the Tax Foundation’s 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index (Oct. 2016), Rank in 2015 Higher Education R&D Expenditure (Total in $000s in parentheses), Rank by Lowest Industrial Electric Power Cost (¢/kWh), and Fiscal Condition Index (Mercatus Center at George Mason University, June 2016). The online version of the report indexes each state profile as a downloadable/viewable PDF. In the print edition of the magazine, the report begins on page 94.


Joplin’s Vision 2022 connects job growth and literacy strategies

The Joplin Globe newspaper provided strong coverage of Joplin’s Vision 2022 efforts, including WIB perspectives on education and job growth. Today’s edition featured Vision 2022’s Job Growth team that kicked off Tuesday night.

Update on Monday, January 30th:  Joplin Globe covered the second meeting of the Job Growth Team with analysis of occupation growth projections and economic factors that might affect projections and outcomes.

The goal of the Job Growth team is to support the citizens’ desire for a vibrant economy with a thriving workforce by growing the job market. The group’s first meeting Tuesday examined labor market and sector trends with discussions around key priorities. The group meets again January 26th to dig deeper on skill gap trends and issues. Globe journalist Jordan Larimore interviewed Job Growth Team co-chair Ryan Melton, Adam Bokker of Home Instead Senior Care, and Jasen Jones with the SW MO WIB.

The Education team met Monday, as noted in a separate article from the Globe. This team has two components of K-12 and adult education (including post-secondary). This team’s mission is to support the citizens’ desire for Quality Schools by developing a community of learners rooted in strong communications, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative thought to ensure an engaged and informed community.

More about Vision 2022 is available online or through their Facebook page. KCGS-TV at Missouri Southern State University also covered Vision 2022 in its Newsmakers program with video available online as well.  Other teams within Vision 2022 include Governance, Healthy Living/Wellness, Positive Marketing/Branding, and Quality of Life.




WorkforceZone Fall 2016: Expanding the Labor Market with Opportunities for All

wfz-cover-fall-2016The Fall edition of the WorkforceZone, the region’s quarterly journal for workforce development, features the theme of Expanding the Labor Market with Workforce Opportunities for All. The 16-page magazine-style format may be downloaded as a printer-friendly and tablet-friendly PDF. Check out individual articles online here at as well.

Joplin boasts Missouri’s lowest cost of living

All six of Missouri’s major metro areas have a cost of living lower than the U.S. average making Missouri the 8th lowest as a state nationwide for the third quarter of 2016. Joplin also topped the Show-Me state for the lowest cost of living.



In general, the most expensive areas to live were Hawaii, Alaska, the Northeast, and the West Coast. The least expensive areas were the Midwest and Southern states.  Missouri’s Economic Research Information Center (MERIC) pulls the cost of living index for each state by averaging the indices of participating cities and metropolitan areas in that state. Missouri’s cost of living index for the third quarter of 2016 was 90.4, down from the 2015 third quarter index of 91.2. Cities across the nation participate in the Council for Community & Economic Research (C2ER) survey on a voluntary basis. Price information in the survey is governed by C2ER collection guidelines.  Visit MERIC online to learn more about other state rankings.


Strategy paper links education and career navigation

pathway-concept-highwaysFacing certain choices regarding education and career paths can be challenging for individuals who struggle with navigation skills. Some individuals may find a mentor who can help guide them along their paths, while others end up satisfied and successful in the schools and jobs they choose on their own, but unfortunately, others may not. Individuals who find that they struggle with education and career choices may find solace in knowing that there are specific things they can do to better prepare themselves to set relevant, informed goals and strategies. These include understanding one’s interests, values, and skills; knowing the world of education and work; engaging in exploration, informed decision-making, and planning; and managing educational and occupational progress over time. Read More→